Barbara H. McNeely

Author, Coach & Publisher

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Beginning My Yoga Journey

Beginning My Yoga Journey

Beginning My Yoga Journey – Cats know how to yoga!

It was last December when my friend Sherrie, the Naturopathic Doctor, suggested water, bone broth, and yoga for the osteoarthritis in my knees. I immediately added bone broth to my diet. I re-introduced the yoga from my iPad app. And I always strive to drink more water. Strive being the operative word.
I have always known that the iPad app was not sufficient for my yoga needs, for at least three reasons:

  1. It presents a limited selection of yoga poses.
  2. There is no one with me to tell me I’m doing things wrong.
  3. It’s more difficult to motivate myself alone.

Someone suggested that I go see Nydia at Nydia’s Yoga Therapy. That was in January and it took me until July to actually do it. Now, less than a month later, I’m kicking myself for having put it off for so long. But it’s all good and everything happens when it happens for a reason.

I signed up for a therapeutic assessment with Nydia as the first step. I wanted her to know about my issues and more importantly I wanted to know if yoga would really help me. So I told her all about my various health issues: my fairly recent surgery, my osteoarthritis in my knees, hips, and thumbs. And I told her some of the things that I wanted to do but could not at this time. Such as playing guitar. The arthritis in my thumbs makes this difficult. And turning cartwheels. I used to love to do turn cartwheels, but have not had the nerve to try one for years. Which brought up something else I needed – strength. In every area – hands, arms, shoulders, knees, hips, feet, legs, you name it. Basically, I want to be able to run and jump and play like normal kids.

Yoga Assessment

That assessment was one long, private yoga session. Breath and breathing is a major part of yoga. And it’s much more than the Inhale/Exhale I got from my iPad app. We spent a lot of time on that. So much that I had abdominal muscles that I didn’t even know I had hurting the next day. But it was hurting in a good way.
The good news is that I learned that my yoga practice can benefit all of my joints and help to protect me from the degeneration that is osteoarthritis. I also learned that it is about doing it right. I’m pretty good at following directions. And I know that when it comes to physical activity, you need to do it the right way. And I know that even I can benefit from this yoga practice.
Nydia sent me home after that assessment with a booklet and links to her website. So I went home and practiced at home. Concentrating on breathing and on feet exercises.

My First Yoga Class

It was nearly two weeks later when I took my first class with Nydia. I wound up in the front of the classroom, facing a huge mirrored wall. I have to tell you I was not prepared for that. I am overweight and out of shape and have lingering edema in my feet, ankles, and legs. I wanted to be far away from the mirror. (I thought about posting a before picture of myself, but I have yet to have the nerve to take that one.) Suffice it to say that I resemble the roundness of this image:

This is how I look now

This is how I look now

In my mind, though, I am seeing myself in excellent physical condition.

I enjoyed that first class enough to sign up for a total of ten classes. That first class was on a Monday and I went back on Wednesday. This time I chose to have a spot right in front of the mirror. That way I’ll get to watch my progress. I am pleased to tell you that I felt a little stronger and had better balance after just one class. Combined, of course, with the work I have been doing at home.

My Yoga Commitment

I have now been to yoga class four times, but this is only the beginning for me. I have long wanted to get into yoga and now is the time. I know I have limitations now. I just laugh whenever someone says “Sit comfortably on the floor in a cross-legged position.”
I’ll be writing here every week reporting my progress. And talking about all of the benefits of yoga. There are many. So follow me on my journey to see where all it leads!

"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Conforming Non-Conformist

"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Note to the reader: I originally wrote this blog post in the fall of 2015. And for some reason, it was never published. I could go back through the post and make changes to reflect the current time. But that would get too confusing. So, just remember it was written in late September. Also, since I wrote this, I have seen the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” I am also currently reading the book.

I consider myself to be a non-conformist in many ways — in the clothes I wear, the books I read, the television and movies I watch, and more. I have always been non-conforming on the inside, but struggled for years with the feeling of needing to appear to conform. Hence the title “The Conforming Non-Conformist.” In my first draft of this post, I wrote six paragraphs on this topic. Only to realize, in the end, that I was once again apologizing for my non-conformity. I guess that makes me a recovering conforming non-conformist?

True Confession: I have never read “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” There! I’ve said it. I also didn’t know the author’s name or anything about Elizabeth Gilbert. It is sad that I felt the need to apologize and explain or rationalize exactly why I had never read “Eat Pray Love.” And why should I need to explain or apologize? Perhaps Elizabeth Gilbert should explain why her book never appealed to me. Or maybe, just maybe, we should forget all of that. Accept that I just never read the book and move on to the topic at hand. Honestly, I think Liz will understand.

So – I didn’t know who Liz Gilbert was until last week, when Marie Forleo’s newsletter popped up in my email with the title “My Big Magic Sit Down With Elizabeth Gilbert.” Forces totally beyond my control drew me to watch the video, especially since I had no idea who Elizabeth Gilbert was.

I watched the video on Wednesday, the day after it came out. After twenty minutes, not having realized I had been watching that long, I checked to see the length of the interview. Forty seven minutes! By that time, I was hooked so I watched till the end. That afternoon I went out and bought Elizabeth Gilbert’s book – “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” The next evening, I watched the video for a second time and took notes. Three pages of notes!

It was the perfect timing of the universe. What Liz said was exactly what I needed to hear. The push that I need right then for my own work. And it wasn’t strictly what she said, it was also how she said it.

The subtitle for “Big Magic” is “Creative Living Beyond Fear.” It has only been within the last ten years or so that I realized I actually am creative. I still struggle with letting that be seen. Even writing about it here is still scary to me. Sometimes, I do this exactly because they are scary. Like the time when I worked for Corporate America and I took a class called “Presentation Skills.” I took that class because I was scared to get up in front of people and talk.

Here are a few of my favorite take-aways from the interview:

  • Fear is a necessary companion. Its job is to protect us. However, fear does not get to make decisions or creative choices.
  • “Perfection is a serial killer.” “Done is better than good.”
  • “What will make you finish it is not discipline, but self-forgiveness.”

I agree with Marie that “Big Magic” should be required reading for everyone. If you’re wanting to work with your own creativity, it is a must. Go buy it and read it now. And yes, that’s an affiliate link up above, but you don’t have to buy from my link. Just go buy it. And then read it.

Perhaps, soon, it will be time for me to read “Eat Pray Love.” You know, in a non-conforming way.

How To Create Stress

Waking Angels - Listen

Actually, this picture, Listen, is by Karen Reines at Waking Angels is part of a solution to reduce stress, not create it.

Are you stressed out? Do you create stress for yourself? Are you feeling the pressure of getting things done? Wondering how you’ll get it all done?

Stop and think for a minute.

How much of that stress is real?

How many of those deadlines are your own creation?

Why are you stressed? Do you fear what might happen if you don’t accomplish things?

What is there really to worry about?

How often do you automatically start stressing about something as soon as it is planned? If you’re having house guests, do you immediately begin worrying about getting your house ready? If you’re planning a trip, do you start worrying about all the details the minute you decide to go?

I recently figured out that roughly 99.5% of the stress in my life is totally my own creation. Let me explain how I figured it out.

Recently, my husband went on a trip to Africa. That’s a long way to go. The trip was a year in the planning and lasted just over 3 weeks. I watched him scrambling to get things ready. The 2 weeks before the trip he was very much absorbed in getting all the last details ready. I sat back and watched, all the time thinking I was glad it wasn’t me that was stressing about the trip.

I had my own plans for the time he was gone. I had a lofty list of goals: clean the house, turn the upstairs alcove into a reading/music area, do some serious decluttering, redecorate in the bedroom. All while getting out on my own and with girl friends.

Perhaps you’re already seeing what I finally had to come to terms with. I was setting myself up for failure by trying to do too much.

I started out on track, until I added to the list by having a retreat at my house. Retreats On The Go was a wonderful time, but it involved getting much of my house clean in just a few days. At the same time that I was cleaning, I had a few other things going on. So the stress was already building. Towards the end of that first full week, as the retreat approached, I had to reprioritize my cleaning plan. I was not going to do the ‘top-to-bottom’ cleaning of that much house in that amount of time. Stress that had built up began to dissipate for a bit. By Friday afternoon, I was able to relax.

The second weekend was perfect. It involved retreats and celebration that I’ve talked about before. I had ordered a new comforter and shams for our bedroom. It arrived that weekend too.

The second week was when the pressure began to mount. The list of things I had to do was growing. I went shopping two days that week to find the perfect pillows and picture for the bedroom. The first trip resulted in a migraine from a shop full of scented candles. That migraine wasn’t too terrible, but it’s effects lingered.

I decided that I would make the pillows, knowing it would be faster and less leg work than shopping for days and days. I used to be a marathon shopper but no longer have that patience.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I just added to my list – making pillows.

All those pillows needed to be done by the time my husband got back. Yes, more stress. BUT, who decided that schedule?

In the end, five of the pillows were completed on time.

I also ordered a picture from an artist friend. I figured I had ordered it too late to get here in time, but decided I would just have to live with that.

Did I mention rain? Much of Texas got rain the entire time my husband was gone. And that’s on top of rain we had earlier. My husband flew out of Houston’s airport so I had to drive him there. Because of flooding, we had to go a different route to get to his friend’s house. So I was watching the weather in Houston the week he was to return. Because… I needed to drive over there again to pick him up.

The rains came. The flooded road in Houston that had reopened was closed again. And still the rains came. So that entire week, as I’m stressing to get things done, I’m also stressing about the prospect of driving 200 miles in rain and possible flooding.

Did I mention I don’t like to drive in the rain?

So that’s a lot of stress. Brought on by my own worries and fears. And in the end I realized it was only stress because of my own expectations for myself.

Here’s another reason I shouldn’t have stressed so much:

My husband was due to land in Houston on Thursday night and spend the night at his friend’s house. And I would drive to Houson on Friday. It was raining so much in Houston that his plane was rerouted to Dallas. The airline cancelled the rest of the flight. So he decided to rent a car in Dallas and drive to San Antonio. So, no trip to Houston for me. AND, the picture I ordered got here in time and was personally delivered and hung BEFORE he got home.

Here is the final product of my work. As you can see, it is definitely a stress-reducing bedroom:

Stress Free Bedroom

Stress Free Bedroom

I read recently that we will judge others by their actions yet we judge ourselves by our intentions. So true! Lesson learned! Actually a few of them:

  1. Be gentler on myself. Don’t set expectations so high that you set yourself up for stress and failure.
  2. Practice mindfulness.
  3. Trust that everything will get done at its right time
  4. Don’t ever worry about things that haven’t happened yet. Trust that they will work out.

I’m definitely a work in progress and am grateful for the lessons learned during my husband’s trip!

Endbeginnings – A Celebration!

The Book - Time for a Celebration!

The Book – Time for a Celebration!

Apparently I have a magic DJ that selects the music tape that plays in my head. Sometimes, I’m not paying attention to the music in my head, and then I listen and am amazed. Today, May 22nd, 2016, the DJ was playing “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. And it is a most appropriate song. As today is certainly a cause for celebration. Celebrating renewed life and, to use a phrase coined by Rachel Naomi Remen, a celebration of “endbeginnings.”

In reality, I started celebrating on Friday. I could not have asked for a more perfect weekend. What am I celebrating? It was one year ago today that I had my open heart surgery. Life saving surgery that has also been life altering. My husband called that day, May 22nd, 2015, a birthday. And so today is a one year birthday. It also marks the end of the healing process. My cardiologist and my surgeon both told me that complete recovery from surgery could take six to twelve months. Each month I have felt better and better. Today I feel much better than I did before the surgery. And I’m so thankful for this chance at continued life.

Today was planned several months back. Crystal and I made plans to have brunch to celebrate. We met at 10:30AM at La Fonda on Main. I chose the location because it is one of my favorite places. I had Pancakes de Naranja or something similar in name. It was pancakes with orange sauce and they were delicious. It came with scrambled eggs with a spicy cheese sauce. And bacon – because it isn’t Sunday without bacon. It was a lot of food and I ate most of it. I figured it was okay since last year on this date I didn’t eat anything. That’s ‘Barbara Logic’ in case you were wondering!

Endbeginnings

According to Rachel Naomi Remen, there are no endings without beginnings. Hence the term endbeginnings. The end of a year is followed by the beginning of a new year. The end of a normal pregnancy is followed by the beginning of a new life. And, the word commencement is used to describe the ceremony where students graduate. Their time in school is ending, but the ceremony’s name is a commencement or beginning. And so, for me it is the end of healing and the beginning of the next phase of my life. I am excited for that phase and also extremely grateful that I live in a time where it is possible to be given this second chance.

I took my book with me to brunch. The book is a composition book that I started on May 13th, 2015. It is a record of doctor visits, notes from those visits, and much more. It is a record of progress as well as notes for when things did not progress. For months, it went everywhere I went. In the beginning, each page represented one day since there was so much to write down. Some days required two pages for notes. One measure of progress was when I went from one day per page to two days on each page. Eventually, several days were on each page. Until finally, I was feeling so much better that I would forget to write in it. In fact, the last entry was made on April 19th, 2016. And on the one year anniversary, while we were at brunch, Crystal and I wrote the final page for this book. I thought about having a book burning, but there is much too much still valuable information. And it is a reminder of all that I have gone through and accomplished in this year.

I asked Crystal to write in it first. What she wrote helped me to see just how far I had come:

Barbara, I am so honored to celebrate this day with you! I am also grateful for this friendship. You are not just a survivor, but a champion. You have come through so much and you continue to learn and persevere. Never can you doubt the strength you have for overcoming any obstacle. I am proud to know you and I know this is just the beginning.

What’s next for me? First, I plan to finish the book I’m working on. It’s about this journey over the last 15 or so months. And then? Well, I think maybe the sky is the limit!

The Last Page in the Book

The Last Page in the Book

This keeps me up at night: Baby Boomers Without Children

What keeps me up at night?

What keeps me up at night?

Disclaimer: Thankfully, it is now very rare that anything actually keeps me awake at night. But there are things that I think about and worry about often. This one is at the top of the list.*

I was reminded of this worry recently while talking with a friend. She was telling me about her mother’s heart surgery and the complications she encountered. Complications that resulted in spending time in a rehab facility until she was well enough to be on her own again. My friend told me that she reviewed her mother’s prescription list at the rehab facility and found Zoloft, an antidepressant, on the list. This was a surprise to both my friend and her mother. The medication was removed from the list.

It reminds me of stories I hear from friends quite a bit. They have become an advocate for their aging parents. It’s wonderful that they are able to care for their parents. I did the same for my father in his last few years.

Here’s what keeps me awake at night: Who will take care of me? Who will take care of all of us that have never had children?

While it may sound a bit morbid to think about, it is, never-the-less a common topic. Just check out this google search: baby boomers without children. I chose baby boomers because that’s the age group I fit into – those born from 1946 – 1964, inclusive. There were a total of 75.8 Million babies born in those 19 years. Of those, 20 Million of them never had children. That works out to be 19.7 % of baby boomers had no children.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the reason to have kids is to have someone to care for you as you age. All I’m saying is that adult children often become the caretakers of their aging parents. So, if you had no children, you may not have someone to care for you.

It’s just something I think about from time to time.

What are your thoughts? Is this something that you’ve thought of? What keeps you awake at night? Submit your answers below.

*Disclaimer Disclaimer: Although not much keeps me up at night, it’s likely true that, on some level, I worry about myself and other baby boomers without children. It’s something I need to work on because I know that underlying fears are not good for me.

Is Spontaneous Healing Possible?

Is Spontaneous Healing Possible?

Do you believe that spontaneous healing is possible

Do you believe that you and your thoughts can have an impact on your health? That may sound crazy at first, but there just may be something to this self healing or spontaneous healing.

I have a friend that in 1999 was diagnosed with an incurable cancer – multiple myeloma. She told her doctor that was unacceptable as she intended to watch her grandchildren grow up. Grandchildren that had not yet been conceived. Today she is a picture of health and a positive, active, vital lady.

Another friend was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) more than 30 years ago. All the markers were found in her blood. Her hands were often so swollen, red, and so sore that she could barely grip her steering wheel. Her doctor told her she would be in a wheel chair within three years. She told him he was talking to the wrong person. Just a few years later, her rheumatoid arthritis was gone. No RA makers could be found in her blood.

The stories of both of these ladies are fascinating. It was more than just thoughts that healed them. They made some critical adjustments to their lives and lifestyles.

Sound crazy? It’s a subject that has intrigued me for quite a while. Lately, I have been reading more and more about spontaneous healing. In fact, it seems that information on this topic keeps finding me. Nearly too much to keep up. I’m thinking I need a speed-reading course.

I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about this in the future. In fact, I’m contemplating a book that compiles the stories of people who have healed when science and modern medicine said they could not be healed. Would that interest you? What questions/answers would you want from someone who experienced a spontaneous healing? OR, do you know someone who has experienced a spontaneous healing?

I would love for you to tell me your answers in the comments!

How I Make Bone Broth

Finished Bone broth hanging out in the fridge

Finished Bone broth hanging out in the fridge

Last week, I wrote about why I started making bone broth. And why I have consumed it every day since late December. This week, I’m going to tell you how I make bone broth.

Let’s start with ingredients. I am all about having the right ingredients. It’s the same as anything I cook; I start with quality ingredients. Let’s talk about some of those ingredients:

  • Beef Bones – I’ve made several batches of bone broth and all except one was made with beef bones. Beef bones from grass-fed cows. Preferably marrow bones. I buy them at the farmers market from a rancher. I’ve also bought bone broth from the same rancher.*
  • Chicken bones – I start with a whole chicken. Once the chicken is cooked and the meat removed from the bones, I use all the leftover pieces – skin, bones, connective tissue. Some people even buy and add chicken feet. We buy our chickens at the farmer market as well. So they are pasture-raised chickens.*
  • Vegetables – Carrots, celery, and onion add flavor to bone broth. If I can, I buy these at the farmers market as well, but they’re not always in season. You can prepare these in advance and freeze them. I will buy celery and then cut 3-4 stalks into 1-2 inch pieces, wrap them up and freeze them for later use in bone broth. I buy carrots in bulk and freeze them too. The texture isn’t what’s important, just the flavors. The first time I made bone broth, it cooked for 24 or 48 hours. My husband wanted to taste one of the carrots at the end. He was unpleasantly surprised to learn that the carrot had no flavor left. It was all in the broth.
  • Other vegetables – I’ve read a lot of bone broth suggestions and several say that they put vegetable scraps in the freezer and then add them to their bone broth. Someone suggested that you go easy on the greens as they can add a bitter flavor.
  • Garlic – Another flavor enhancer.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple Cider Vinegar helps to leech the nutrients from the bones.
  • Filtered water – We filter all of the water we drink, to remove the chlorine, fluoride and who knows what else is in our water. It makes sense to use that same filtered water for bone broth.

* Buying grass-fed beef bones and pasture-raised chickens may be pricey, but if you can swing it, you’ll be starting with the best ingredients. I fully believe in going way back to how animals were raised before there were large-scale factory farms. If you want to spend less, look for the highest quality you can find.

Here’s how I make my bone broth:

A mug's worth of bone broth heating on the stove.

A mug’s worth of bone broth heating on the stove.

  1. Prepare your bones – if you’re starting with raw bones, roast them in the oven @ 350F for 30 minutes.
  2. Start with a large stock pot. Mine is 12 quarts.
  3. Add your prepared bones.
  4. Throw in your vegetables:
    • 1 onion, diced into roughly 1 inch pieces
    • 3-4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 3-4 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into 1 inch piece
    • any other interesting vegetables you have on hand
  5. Add 3-4 (or more) cloves of peeled garlic.
  6. Add filtered water to within 1 inch of top of stock pot.
  7. Add desired spices and herbs – I add thyme and 6-8 black peppercorns.
  8. Add 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar.
  9. Do not add salt at this point. Add salt to individual dishes you make with your finished broth.
  10. Turn on the heat. You never want this to boil as prolonged boiling will destroy the collagen. Still, I like to heat it on a higher setting just to get everything in the pot hot. Once it is hot, I reduce the burner to a low setting. You want it to gently simmer.
  11. Cover your stock pot.
  12. Cook your broth for at least 24 hours. If you read other broth recipes, you’ll find a wide variation here. I have even let it simmer for up to 48 hours.
  13. Once you’re done cooking, you’ll want to strain your broth using either a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. I strain my broth into a 2 quart measuring cup and then pour it into 1 quart canning jars.
  14. Allow the broth to cool before refrigerating. You can freeze your broth as well, but that will be the topic for another day.
  15. Enjoy. I sip a mug full every day. It also makes an excellent base for stews or soups – anywhere that calls for broth.

And that is how I make bone broth. This absolutely isn’t rocket science. I have found that if you start with quality ingredients, you just can’t go wrong. Try it yourself and let me know what you think.

Why I Make Bone Broth

A mug of bone broth, ready for sipping.

A mug of bone broth, ready for sipping. Mmmm, this is why I make bone broth.

As you may know, I am searching for a cure for my arthritis. Some believe I’m looking for a miracle. And that’s okay. If it takes a miracle, I’ll accept that. I do tend to side with science first, but miracles are welcome.

I have friends who have taken the surgery route in order to be rid of their arthritis pain. That is definitely a last resort for me. I’ve had enough of surgery. Plus, I have arthritis in both knees, both hips, both hands, and possibly my right ankle. Perhaps other places. I just listed those that cause me pain right now. That’s a lot of surgery. As well as there aren’t good surgical options for the hands. So, why not look at something more natural as a solution?

One friend suggested this combination: “yoga, water, and bone broth.” And that’s how I first started looking at bone broth. Then I learn that another friend makes and consumes bone broth all the time. She recommended Sally Fallon Morell’s book, “Nourishing Broth.” From reading Sally’s book, I have determined that bone broth just might be the miracle I’m looking for. It makes sense from the science side because you use the bone and connective tissue to make the broth. So your body is getting all of the necessary components.

I decided to give it a try. Even knowing that it would take a while before I would see results. How long? I’m not sure. I have time. Near the end of December, I began consuming bone broth. I have roughly 11 ounces per day. That’s no magic formula, that’s the amount of bone broth that fits in my stainless steel mug I use (see photo). Although I don’t know how long it might take, I do know that I should start seeing improvements in skin, hair and nails first.

There isn’t a down side to consuming bone broth. In fact, there was a time when most people consumed bone broth as it was used in cooking and soup making. That all changed with the introduction of MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG gave foods the flavor that bone broth did, but at a cheaper price. Cheaper for the food, although more costly for our health in the long run.

Most of us have heard that chicken soup is good for a cold. This was true, once upon a time. That time period when chicken soup started as bone broth. There are many nutrients in that bone broth. Healing nutrients.

Some have asked if they can’t just buy broth from the store? Suggesting that surely the broth you can buy at Whole Foods is good for you. That depends. There are some broths that are made from good quality ingredients. But read the label carefully. A broth made from chicken meat is not the same as a broth made from chicken bones. The former would be a good choice if you’re looking more for flavor. It’s not unhealthy, it’s just not the same as bone broth. And if you’re trying to cure your arthritis, you want broth made from the bones.

Still, when I first thought about bone broth, it seemed that it must be complicated and that it would take a long time. Back in December, we bought some bone broth at our local farmers market. That turns out to be an expensive way to go. And that’s why I decided to try my hand at making bone broth.

Next week, I’ll go into detail – talking about the ingredients in my bone broth and the process of making it. Stay tuned!

A Different Viewpoint for Arthritis

Looking at arthritis from a different viewpoint

Looking at arthritis from a different viewpoint

So far, I’ve looked at my arthritis primarily from a physical viewpoint: talking about what happens in the body and ways to help either heal the body or alleviate the arthritis symptoms. Reading a recent post by Dr. Christiane Northrup on 12 Ways to Release Fear and Anger To Heal Arthritis reminded me that there are other ways of looking at a disease process in the body. She suggests that pain within the body has emotional roots. In the case of arthritis, the emotions are anger, resentment, criticism or fear. Or a combination of these.

Louise Hay, in her book You Can Heal Your Life , breaks this down even further. Suggesting that pain or arthritis in the knees or hips could be a fear of moving forward. If this interests you, I encourage you to read more from Louis Hay. Much of her ideas can be found online, or you could buy her book.

There was a time when I would not have given these ideas much thought. I am first a scientist and I thought mostly from a scientific standpoint for most of my life. I say mostly because I also have a deep belief in God. And I know that things happen which have no scientific explanation.

I recently watched Anita Moorjani’s TedX talk. She has a story of her near-death experience (NDE) and her inexplicable healing from terminal cancer. If you haven’t watched it, it is worth all of the 18 or so minutes it takes. In the talk, Anita attributes her disease to fear and a lack of self-love. She also believes that we all have the ability to heal ourselves.

It isn’t just Anita’s story though. There are many stories of people who healed without the benefit of traditional allopathic medicine. Norm Cousins cured his cancer with laughter therapy. You can watch his story in the movie Anatomy of an Illness.

I personally know someone who was diagnosed with terminal, incurable cancer in 1998 or 1999 and is a picture of health today.

Someday I would like to create a collection of all of these stories.

There are other stories as well. Some are stories of people who healed from other diseases. Often the healing results, at least in part, because of lifestyle changes. But they all seem to come from a positive attitude. A believe in your own abilities. And a strong will to live.

Osteoarthritis is certainly not considered life-threatening. But it can definitely interfere with the quality of life. I’m interested in looking at arthritis from different viewpoints. Because my plan is to be rid of it. Without surgery.

What do you think? Is there something to this? Or is it all poppycock to you?

Why does Tip Top taste so good?

Why does Tip Top taste so good

Why does Tip Top taste so good? I shall reveal the answer to this question.

Subtitle: Why we ate Italian Wednesday night.

The Tip Top Cafe is a San Antonio landmark and has been in business since 1938. I ate there only occasionally since their original location isn’t near me. I think the last time I ate there was in 2000 or 2001. (It was in that pre-chronic migraine phase of my life. In the days when MSG had no impact on me, at least not that I was aware of.) Last April, they opened a second location that is not too far from where we live. Finally, Wednesday night, we decided to give it a try.

After ordering iced tea (unsweetened), I began looking at the menu. I see that most dishes come with a salad. This always puts me on alert because I know that salad dressings are one of those foods that frequently contains MSG. I usually ask if they make their dressing in house and if they say yes then I know I’m okay, most likely.

For some reason, my ‘spidey senses’ were on high alert. I asked if they made their salad dressings in house. Our waitress said yes but somehow that wasn’t good enough for me. So I explained that I have to avoid MSG because it triggers migraines. She suggested I talk with the manager.

I explained to the manager what I needed to know. She informed me that all of their foods contain MSG. They boil everything in water with MSG in it. Yikes, so there’s nothing here that I can safely eat.

I politely told her that we would simply pay for our tea and then leave. She understood and said we didn’t need to pay for the tea. We left a dollar on the table for our waitress and left.

So now you know why that chicken fried steak from Tip Top tastes so good. It’s all that MSG they put in it.

We went down the street to an Italian restaurant. It was sad because I remember Tip Top’s food being so good. But I am thankful for those ’spidey senses’ that told me to ask a few more questions!

Speaking of MSG, I found something interesting while reading Sally Fallon Morrel’s book Nourishing Broth. Before MSG’s flavor-enhancing properties were discovered, many of our foods were made with bone broth or stock. Bone broth is made by simmering bones along with veggies and seasonings. The result is a broth that is rich, flavorful, and very nutritious. With the entry of MSG onto the food scene, food preparation could be done without bone broth by using MSG in its place. It drastically changed the food industry. MSG is cheap and easily obtainable and so the use of bone broth went by the wayside. One day, I would like to do a study to see if the rise in the per capita incidence of osteoarthritis correlates with the introduction of MSG.

One more factoid from Nourishing Broth: MSG has been used in laboratory animals to induce obesity! I guess it’s good that us humans aren’t laboratory animals, right?

By the way, in case you’re wondering what else I’ve been up to: I have resurrected by jewelry-making skills and started a new line of jewelry at Barbara’s Hearts. Have a look when you have a minute.

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